Woodoo super-wood goes transparent

As automobile makers explore new materials and technologies to minimize cars’ weight and emissions, some companies are offering innovative solutions that could advance these goals. Woodoo, a material science company based out of Paris, France, is one of these companies.

Automakers are reportedly showing an interest in Woodoo’s latest tech: molecularly-modified transparent wood. Woodoo extracts air and lignin from low-grade wood like beech, pine and poplar, and then reinforces it with a bio-based polymer that boosts performance.

The modified wood is weather-proof, lighter in weight, more resistant to fire, up to five times stronger, and transparent. It has also low CO2 footprint, low-grade species compatible, and is fire-resistant, dimensionally stable and touch-sensitive.

The company is the brainchild of French architect Timothée Boitouzet, who says it’s working with a few companies to integrate its modified wood into aircraft and vehicle displays as “tactile dashboards”. The company’s mission is to blend nature with technology to design the materials of the future.

Boitouzet got the inspiration for modified wood from Japanese construction culture. “This material that we considered an old material, without innovation, was actually super-smart. This got me excited about wood,” he said, predicting that wood will be “the material of the 22nd century”.

Woodoo creates the augmented wood by extracting air and lignin from it, then reinforcing it with a bio-based polymer. This modification endows the material with strength and fire resistance and envisions multiple applications for the augmented wood, especially in the automotive and construction sectors.

As the construction industry is under pressure to meet environmental standards and reduce the use of endangered wood species, Woodoo offers a superior alternative to premium wood, and can eventually replace concrete, glass and steel in certain use cases.

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